February 21, 2012

Episode Review: JUSTIFIED, "When the Guns Come Out"

After a roller coaster of an episode, "When the Guns Come Out" did a good job at focusing on the season long arc and pushing it forward, but there were also some moments that felt like filler which gave it a slightly disjointed feeling.

The battle over the Oxy market continued as Tanner (the man who introduced Devil to Quarles) hit Boyd's clinic, and he not only stole the pills but he left three dead bodies behind including a prostitute. As it turned out, the clinic was established in Raylan's aunt's house, so he decided to pay Arlo a visit to get some information on what was going on, and he found out that Boyd was involved. Givens turned his attention to Crowder to warn him about getting his family name mixed up in his criminal pursuits. During their conversation, Boyd asked Raylan to help out Ava because she was at the brothel getting information about the shoot out at his Oxy clinic. Apparently, the pimp in charge was also stealing drugs which was why his girls were there in the first place, and the one who survived told Raylan about how Tanner was running one of Quarles' clinics. When he showed up the shut the place down, a fight on a moving trailer broke out, and the skirmish left one of Quarles' men dead, but Tanner was able to get away.

Boyd, Quarles and drugs were not the only things Raylan had to deal with during "When the Guns Come Out." Since Winona left him at the end of the last episode, he spent the rest of his time trying to figure out where she went to. He tried calling her sister, putting out searches for her car, and he even checked out the evidence locker where they returned the money she stole on a hunch. He was surprised to find out that the money was missing, so now he could use the law to force her to talk to him. It was finally revealed to him that she was heading to Louisville to stay with her sister, so he dropped by to ask her about the cash. She claimed that she didn't take it, and then they had a conversation about why she left. Winona realized that she was tried of being alone and that he would've changed for her by now if he really wanted to. Raylan didn't dispute her claims, and they were left to figure out how they were going to raise a child while being apart.

There was a lot going on in this episode, and most of it worked but some of it made me wonder what was the point. For example, I can see why the pimp and the prostitutes were introduced because they were plot devices to help Raylan get closed to Quarles, but as soon as they showed up I couldn't help but think here we go again. Much like the pawn shop owner, these minor characters are just around to push the story forward yet so much time's spent on them, and I would much rather get to see more of Quarles and Limehouse than these people. Now, I get that the mystery behind Quarles and Limehouse are why they're effective characters, but just tossing random bad guys in Raylan's way feels like the wheels are starting to spin. Maybe they will show up again, but oh how I doubt it, and even if they do I don't see myself caring about them anyway.

I also wondered what was the point of putting Raylan and Winona back together if they were just going to break up again. Yes, it established how Raylan's set in his ways and how he'll never be able to give up his job, but this is all information that we already knew, so why put him in an on-again, off-again relationship just to highlight the point. I guess the fact that he's having a baby was supposed to be the factor that forced him to settle down, but that wouldn't be true to the character at this point in his life. Ultimately, I'm of two minds on the direction of their relationship. On one hand, I was never too invested in them as a couple, so if we get less time on his personal life and more gunslinging action, then all the better. On the other, he cannot just be an old-school cowboy cliche forever.

Other Odds and Ends:
  • The pimp was just another lowlife brought in to move the plot along, but he was particularly brutal, and I hope we don't have to see him again.
  • That scene between Raylan and Boyd was pure greatness.
  • Ava's such a badass.
  • Limehouse continued to lay low on the outskirts of this growing war, but his hand was forced when he found out that one of his men was responsible for orchestrating the hit on Boyd's clinic which caused the growing tension. The plan was for both sides to kill the other, and then Noble's Holler could swoop in and claim the leftovers, but Limehouse was not too happy with the idea.
  • Quarles was also just around during this episode, but he got some decent scenes like the one where he learned about Raylan's connection to Boyd. I'm really interested to see if he tries to paint Givens as a dirty cop and whether it sticks or not.
  • Speaking of Quarles, what's his deal with having people tied to beds all of the time?
  • I groaned when I found out that Charlie stole the money and headed to Mexico because it meant that we're in for yet another pointless side plot that has nothing to do with the main narrative.
  • "By you in your boxer shorts there? I think I got the drop on your this time Arlo."
  • "You two know each other?"
  • "Shit, I didn't bring a knife."
  • "Oh, so that's what you want? To be a gangster? Gold chains, and champagne, and hoes and shit."
I'm all for an episode that re-focuses on the season long story and gives us some forward momentum, so in that regard "When the Guns Come Out" was a solid outing. I just wish we didn't have to put up with all of these distractions that keep getting in the way. Just give me Raylan, Boyd, Quarles and Limehouse and leave all of the excess behind. Sure, the show needs to build some suspense, but let's just hope all of this build up is worth it in the end.


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